A PA response to the unprecedented protest by children's authors against proposals to age-band books was printed in The Guardian yesterday.
And a very feeble, muddled and deeply worrying explanation it is...
Yes, there will always be children "whose reading age will be a couple of years ahead or behind the number of birthdays they've celebrated". However, age guidance isn't actually about reading age - it is about content and the appropriate interest level for children..
argues Simon Juden. Well, isn't that rather difficult to judge? And, particularly in terms of teen and young adult fiction, isn't this going to veer very close to censorship?
...We don't want a child not to be bought a book as a present because the adult doesn't know where to start. Nor do we want to put a child off reading for life by a book that they can't cope with. Age guidance is simply another way to get children into the world of reading
If it's not about reading age, and all about "content and appropriate interest level" who on earth is going to decide what the difference between 7+, 9+ and 11+ is going to be in this regard?
Philip Pullman made a very fine distinction in last Saturday's Guardian between a bookseller's advice or a reviewer's opinion that a book would be suitable for 9+, and having that imprinted on the very cover of the book, as if the publisher and author are jointly saying 8-year-olds pick up this book at your peril.